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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

How We Are To Establish Muslim Life In America: Part 8

(Editorial Note: This segment of Imam W. Deen Mohammed's Public Address delivered in Phoenix, Arizona on January 21, 1990 has as its emphasis personal responsibility over devices of oppression. This is Part VII of this series.)

The Muslim must control his appetites, control his spirit, and control his thoughts. The Muslim is responsible for his whole life. Allah has given us charge of our own life. He created us and then put our life into our own charge. That is what we are taught as Muslims, to take responsibility for the conduct of our own life. And how can we do that without guidance, without light on the situation?

Muslims, go to the Qur'an, go to the life of the Prophet (on him be the prayers and the peace). Study your religion, so that you will know better how to manage your own personal life. A great sense of dignity comes with knowing that you are doing a good job managing your own life. That is real freedom.


Enemy Devices of Oppression

Be aware of the devices of oppression — liquors, drugs, and weekend wasteful fun. All of such are devices of oppression. Such devices are the enemies that are taking us down, beating us and defeating us and denying us establishment. Wasteful fun is an enemy. The tendency to make everything play and fun is an enemy. Such spirit behind our behavior takes us down and denies us establishment. Artificiality (put-on behavior) is an enemy. Wanting to be something just because it is popular is an enemy. These are devices of oppression.

Another enemy is cowardice. Moral cowardice is an enemy-Intellectual cowardice is an enemy. To see the strength, beauty, excellence, and worth in an idea and yet hold on to something that is very much inferior to that idea is moral cowardice. Because you don't have the discipline or the will to do what is morally or intellectually right for yourself, will false acts to discredit it give relief to you? These are the devices (enemies) we have to overcome.

Al-Islam is the force for a successful revolution in the African American people. Not only for us here in America but also for our race in Africa. Don't you know that they too have been deceived in Africa? They were dominated by the West and misguided by the West. They were manipulated into the weakness of undermining the true rise of Al-Islam on the continent of Africa. Although they call themselves Muslims, many are false. This is because somewhere in previous times their people failed to respect what was their real salvation, their real dignity and true glory. They failed their religion. So when failing to respect our religion, Allah punishes us.


The Chosen

We read the history in the Qur'an of certain people whom Allah chose. Nevertheless, when they started to disrespect and abuse what Allah trusted them with, then Allah started to deny them the benefits and allowed them to be overcome by other people that He did not choose. This is history given to us by Allah in Revelation.

This rejection of them is punishment given by Allah's command for the purpose of returning them to their senses. Punishment might bring them back to remember Allah and what He had chosen them for. The people Allah had chosen to be the light for others have joined the people who work to bring the world under darkness. When such occurs, Allah lets the forces of darkness overcome both guilty parties and another people become trustees in power.

The same can happen to us and has happened to us. We (the many of us' turned our backs on the mercy and grace of Allah and threw off our moral sense and joined the blindness of the world. In conclusion I want to invite you to work at something more; that is, concentrate on identifying not just Muslims but other people who share your basic values. Identify with other people who identify with the same basic values that you want. People who share the same sense of values are strong allies, whether they acknowledge each other or not.


Our Moral Partners

Muslims, we have to appreciate Christians who share our sense of values. If they believe as we believe, that it is wrong to be intoxicated, that liquors and drugs are evil, that to work all the week to party on the weekend is ignorance and wastefulness, then we should identify with them and appreciate them. We must realize that we have powerful allies in those people with whom we identify morally.

If there are Christians or Jews or Buddhists who value property, value family, show respect for father and mother, value their children, we should identify with them at least in that vital and common area. We should appreciate them being our neighbor or being in the same city. Acknowledge them as an ally in the neighborhood, in the city or town, in the country.

To be specific. I am telling you that we need to extend our ties. We need to extend our forces by recognizing other powerful allies that may not be Muslims but share our basic sense of values and are aspiring for the same healthy life of the human being. Realize that they are powerful allies.

At the same time realize also that there is a situation of incompatibility and a situation of compatibility. We have to be alive on their side and fighting them at the same time. Allies fight sometimes. Allies will disagree. Allies will oppose each other. The agreeable ally of the Muslim is the Muslim. But we should have allies beyond the borders of the Muslim community and world. We accept that there are people we need and who need us when we think this way. When we do not think this way, they (other people) only need what we have; support given to others and denied our own.


Value-Package Behavior

Moreover, we should live and behave in a way that says to them, "I recognize you as my ally." We want to spread this message of identifying and recognizing our allies. We are not going to spread it with the mouth, we are going to spread it with our behavior. We are going to present a commendable presence before people with whom we share like principles and values. You have to present yourself with your resources. If you have money, don't you want that known at least for business purposes?

Virtues and principles of civilized decent people are more precious and more convincing for building relationships than money and wealth. When people find that you are really true to principles and values held high by them, they value you as a member of their society, of their nation, or just as a person living on their street. We don't want to hide the Islamic wisdom for building bridges. We want to live and let the world know the values and principles we will defend and die for.


Our Typical Behavior is Muslim

We have to stop going along with the habit of behaving as an American Negro or an American Black or African American. We have to get out of that and fight it. It is trouble for us. Some of us will get a little loose. When you get up to get dressed, your "per son-remake" dress will give you another spirit. Before dressing you would be walking around the house very normal, no exaggerated motions. After getting dressed, that other spirit that comes on you is one that the civil established world does not want as an ally.


A Global Sense

We need to extend our allegiance to be allied with people of different colors of different nationalities and from the different parts of the world. Value people when they represent hope for the future. People who represent hope for the future are our best investment. Shouldn't we be hurt when we see something bad happening to them?

Whether you know all the values of a people or not, if you just know they love freedom and hate oppression and dictators and tyrants, and that they will shed their blood and sacrifice their lives to throw off such oppression, then you must extend your sense of allegiance to connect with them also. Appreciate them. Feel a strong allegiance with those people. Feel hurt when they are losing. Feel happy when they are winning, whether they be of your color (racial, ethnic, or religious group) or not.

It makes me feel so good to know that Europe is throwing off dictatorships and tyrants. In some of those European countries there are good populations of Muslims. But I am not just thinking of the Muslims, I think of all of those people. What I am thinking of really is that those people are so courageous and tired of cruel dictators. They are willing to shed blood and lose lives in the thousands. Thank Allah, they have been successful in throwing cruel tyrants and dictators off their backs. They are coming into a freedom that is satisfying.

You should be happy brothers. Why? Because that vibration or sensitivity was not to our knowledge in the atmosphere of America or in the world when your Imam was here battling a tendency in "blacks" to give blind support to oppressors from among us. We should throw tyrants off our backs. We should put down dictators, oppressive ideas and people who would defend and protect oppressive ideas.

Those who oppress other people and live on other people and will exploit weaknesses and rule as though they are masters and others are servants, slaves, are the enemy. We have to grow up to realize that we don't lose our lives pushing dope and sticking up old and weak people on the street, robbing stores, breaking into homes. That is not the way to risk life. Risk life to bring the criminal down.


Wasteful Risks

We will go and risk our lives to sell dope. Our people will join a group of criminals to push dope and brave the risk of being killed by one of them or by law enforcement.

We (too many of us) are risking our lives all the time out there in the world of crime. You brave criminals should come out of that crazy spirit you are in. A lot of you are not really bad. You are victims of an environment. It is that you don't see any hope in anything else. If some of you could see the light, you would change your life and bring that strength and courage to the life and to the goals of Muslims. Some of our best citizens were public offenders when they were not Muslims.

Another thing we have to realize is that in this confused environment of the West, you cannot write everyone off who are involved in crime, abusing themselves and others. I am not saying to excuse them completely. Certainly they have sin on them. But what I am saying is that their peculiar circumstances if studied carefully would justify giving them a chance. (To be continued)